My husband and I are thinking about taking a cruise w/ our then 16 month old. We've never been on a cruise and not sure what to expect. I have a few questions:
1) Is there a type of room recommendation we should book w/ a toddler? I don't think he's ever fallen asleep with me right next to him. We would definitely have to turn off all the lights and "act" asleep until he fell asleep, or call it an early night every night for at least one of us. Are there sitters who we can hire onboard to come to our room for a few hours if we want to do something at night? If we book a balcony room, and head out to the balcony for him to fall asleep, are those dangerous for his age? He can't open doors yet, and he would never be unsupervised...
2) Are there any cruises that would allow him in the pool? He loves to swim, and has never pooped in the pool. He's taken MANY swim classes, and I would hate for him not to be able to ever get in the water.
3) Normally my son is very laid back, but on occasion if he's overly tired, etc, he will have a meltdown and cry for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. Is this going to royally piss off people in the other cabins? Again, this is rare, but I want to know ahead of time before the murderous looks from my neighbors ensue if it should happen (and we're talking a bedtime of 8:30pm so not like it's 2am and he's doing this).
4) What things can we do onboard with a 16 month old? Especially if he can't get into the pool? What about taking him on shore? What type of daycare facilities are there if we want to do an excursion? Will they take a 16 month old that isn't potty trained? How much do these typically cose?
Sorry for all the questions! If anyone has any answers I'd appreciate it!!
I'm writing this month an article for this site on what there is to do on cruise ships for those under two years old. Disney and Cunard are the only lines with a nursery for those over 6 months and one year old, respectively. Also, RCCL, HAL and Celebrity and Cunard are the few lines which offer private babysitting for a few for infants/toddlers.
You should check out the article I wrote on the main page of this family cruise section titled Bringing the Baby. It should be helpful.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
Ive posted numerous times about our experience with cruising on RCI with our now 3.5 yr old (he went at 11, 23, and 35 mos). Our next trip, we will also have a 5 mos old.
1. We get a balcony cabin for enjoyment, space, and separate area to be while our son napped. Its nice to be able to head out there to talk, read in the light, etc while our son naps without distraction. The extra space is wonderful, especially since there will be a portable crib/pack n play set up (we only used that once, and brought an inflateable sleeping bags the other times). The door to the balcony locks and the rails were very high. We just made sure he didnt climb on the furniture out there (pushed it back from the rail) and never left him alone out there. As for sitters, we never used them (we had my dad and brother along for that but rarely used them). Check with each line as there are age reqs.
2. I dont think any line will allow any child that isnt potty trained in the pool. Some ships have separate pools for kids-again check with the lines. Its a health code so most wont allow it and do enforce it. Ive read some people bring a small inflateable pool to use, but Ive wondered what they do with the water afterwards-dumping it on deck cant be any healthier. To be honest, we didnt even swim in the pools since the water was so cold (we sail over New Years). Not many people were in the pools either, and given that most ships use seawater (Princess is fresh I believe), the salt may be a factor too. We just saved the swimming for port days and headed to the beach. There was plenty on board for my son to do so he didnt miss it (and he loves swimming-hes a fish). Just exploring the ship made him happy, and wore him out! One note-we bring our own lifejacket from home so he can safely enjoy the ocean. You cant use the ones from the ship. We also bring along some small cheap sand toys for him to play with at the beach.
3. Make sure your son gets a nap in. It will make dinner and show times much easier. Im lucky that my kids fall asleep easily. You might be surprised that between the sun, sea air, and activity that your son will be so tired he may not have a tantrum. If he does, at 830 most people will be dining, watching shows, or playing so chances are they wont hear much.
4. RCI wont take kids under 3 and they have to be potty trained (we finally get to enjoy this luxury!). There is no extra charges for this. RCI has mommy and me type classes (only 30 mini I believe), but I havent tried them out yet. People have posted about them though. Our son loved just wandering around the ship. He knew his way around before we did! He loved riding the elevators (though is now afraid of heights), walking around, watching other people and kids, going to shows (as long as they had lots of flashy music, colors and lights-and he often fell asleep during them-we got seats on the 2nd level towards the side for a quick exit). As for excursions-skip them. Theres nothing worse than a fussy kid and not being able to get back to the ship easily or quickly. Your best bet is to explore the port, and head to the beach for a few hours on your own. Ask the tour desk for the best and closet beaches that are calm enough for a little one.
Bring lots of sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, diapers, wipes, infant medicines and first aid supplies (these will be nonexistent on the ship, and $$ in port), small toys to entertain him during dinner (since its close to Christmas, we wrap up items and give them to our son during dinner. Being new, they hold his interest longer), a favorite blankie and animal to ease bedtime, sippy cups, dish soap and brush, etc. We would take some extra milk and other food to store in our cabin during the day as snacks (we had a fridge in our cabin and asked the attendant to empty it out so we could store stuff). We also brought some of his favorite foods since hes a picky eater. Also be sure to pack something to cover him up with in the dining room, other cool areas. We also have a portable dvd player for the airplane/car ride and for down time in the cabin. It sounds like a lot of extra stuff to bring for one little person, but you can manage! Dont forget to take lots of photos and get portraits done on the ship. Our son loves looking at his pictures which help him remember his trips. He cant wait to go again!
Thanks Alison for all your helpful hints. Cruising with an infant/toddler is possible and a good way to go. You get to see different places while your little one has the same bed for a week -- and you only have to pack/repack once!
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
Just back from Alaska cruise with 19 month old.
To answer your questions.
1) No sitters for a 16 month old. One recommendation, bring an umbrella stroller and when he falls asleep just wheel him around with you to all the entertainment that you want to do. That is what we did and it was great. We actually went in the hottub at 1am and had him sitting beside us fast asleep in the stroller.
The balconies appear safe but they just scared the crap out of me. I never let him go out there alone.
2) No, children not potty trained are not allowed in the pool, even if they have a swimmer on. Still not allowed ! Stupid rule but that's the rule. I brought a blow up pool for my son and placed it beside the deck. He loved it !
4) You are allowed to go to the Kids Zone but you must stay with them. It's fun place and has a lot of different things a 16 month old will enjoy.